Ryseum, also known as Sura City is the capital of the Sura Empire and the largest city on Macalgra. Located on the Nimula Peninsula, the city was founded as a citadel by the Ryseumian people around 1200 RC, intended to provide safety for the local farming people from nomadic raiders. The city went through a succession of rulers in the following millennia, before the Sura Empire regained control in the 13th century YSB. In early 14th century Agaptus Sentius united the continent of Terrosea under the leadership of Sura, with his capital in Sura City, and the golden age of the metropolis began. Today, that golden age is long past and the city is a home for the desperate and downtrodden.
The city of Sura is ruled by the Gold Council of the Grand City, a council formed of resident noble families, the high priests of the cities temples, and chaired by the Emperor's representative. The Gold Council controls the daily operations of the city. It primarily licenses merchants and taverns and maintains city infrastructure. The government of the Province of Ryseum enforces and decides taxation within the city, and maintains a standing law enforcement corps - the local branch of the Blue Robes; which enforces Imperial laws within the province and city.
Sura was founded in 1200 RC by the local Ryseumian people. An agrarian people, the Ryseumian had grown successful with subsequent good crops, and founded a republican city state as an effort to repel and discourage raiding nomads. The city state of Ryseum lasted for two centuries, before being conquered by the Caerul people.
Caeruli RuleThe Caeruli founded the Ryseum Kingdom, uniting several Nimula city states under their control and forming tributaries of more distant city states, and took Ryseum as their capital. Ryseum gained a significant population of slaves under their rule; the Caerul were outnumbered 10:1 by slave labour, and their ruling dynasty instituted rigorous militarisation to counter this population disparity. By 750 RC, the Caerul had evolved to a complete matriarchy. Lineage was strictly followed under Caeruli rule and the pure Caeruli population shrunk over the centuries, so much that they were forced to allow freemen to serve in the military, and by 340 RC the Caerul population numbered under five thousand, with over one hundred thousand freemen and an estimated three hundred thousand slaves within Ryseum. In 250 RC, a slave revolt besieged the royal family within their ziggurat. Though they persisted for four months, the Caeruli leadership succumbed to disease and starvation. The Ryseum Kingdom collapsed in the power vacuum, as tributary and conquered cities become independent. Lack of organized government, sanitation or food supplies led to a plague that killed over half the population of the Nimula Peninsula. The Caeruli people were largely rendered extinct by the end of the period. Ryseum was burned in a superstitious attempt to route out 'evil spirits' causing the plague, and organized government ceased.
Surah's BirthAround 2 RC, the cultural hero Surah was born within one of the small villages that persisted near the ruins of Ryseum. His exact history is a blur of mythology and folklore mixed with grains of truth, but it is generally agreed that Surah was elected chief of his village at an unusually young age for performing some act of heroics. The followers of his cult, including the royal family of the empire, contend he banished a demon. Historians more generally say he saved children from an animal attack. The impending threat of raids from the nomadic people known as the Urcifer led to Surah uniting the local people to rebuild the defenses of Ryseum and reinhabit the city. After using the city walls to repel a raid, Surah was hailed as a hero. Foklore claims the gods themselves descended and granted him Ryseum, to become the greatest city in the world. Whatever the truth, under Surah's leadership Ryseum was rebuilt into a successful and prosperous city and quickly became the new capital of the peninsula. Ryseum was renamed Sura in his honour by a great great great grandson. Sura and its empire grew to great success under his descendants. Under the leadership of Queen Regent Novia in the 8th century, Sura conquered all of Terrosea except for the territories of Senet'tu. However, a hundred years later Sura had fallen to the Kibmehk dynasty of Senet'tu. The Kibmehk ruled Sura until the 13th century, when the city was freed again in the collapse of the dynasty. Provincial governor Considius Masil declared himself Emperor from the steps of the Imperial Palace of Ryseum in Sura City, and went on to fill the power vacuum left by Senet'tu's fall.
Second EmpireSura City was expanded enormously under the rule of the second empire, and it entered a golden age - as a center of culture, trade and enterprise. Much of the inner city was built in this period, and the port was dredged to allow larger ships. New fortifications were constructed, and a lighthouse erected. Under the empire, Sura became a multicultural and diverse city. It was flooded with foreign trade, immigrants and dignitaries. The city population grew quickly, and the empire spent significant effort on keeping afoot of new infrastructure requirements. For six hundred or so years, Sura City became the fastest growing and most significant city on Macalgra.
DeclineThe thousand year decline that began in 2172 and continues today started with the Gold Blood War, when tension with the Liang Imperiacy boiled over and a ship carrying the Shen's third son was sunk by Suran privateers. Within weeks, the empire was embroiled in war. Though conflict never reached the walls of Sura, the vibrancy of the city dissolved overnight. Embassies left the city, merchants stopped traveling for fear of privateer raids, and the government poured all its funds into war. By the end of the war, the Empire would never be the same and the golden age was over. A prevailing attitude of deep xenophobia and distrust fell over the once thriving city. The government expelled immigrants from Debenya in 2202, and in 2220 the Nen An Besh Proclamation was passed. Magical industry was halted, street performers were rounded up, and the clubs, bars and schools catering to Mages closed their doors. In 2544, Sura City was devastated by the Dark Plague. The city lost 20% of its population in two months. In the aftermath, Sura's trade routes all but closed as the government instituted quarantine of 30 days for all entry to the city. The city never quite recovered, and though it has persisted by virtue of being the empire's capital, the city has steadily declined since. The golem revolution of the 29th century further hit the city, for the manufacturing and agriculture that employed its citizens could now be done by golems, cheaper. Sura City's citizens, many as they are, live in semi-squalid conditions among the crumbling homes of centuries past. The Hegshma grants all citizens of the empire a basic living allowance, which has allowed the city to persist in the absence of jobs, but not ensured its prosperity. A growing class divide has formed over the last several centuries, with slums forming in former manufacturing centers, while the noble class has progressively isolated themselves from the everyman in large villas in the inner city. Despite this, new immigrants arrive from the country regularly, seeking the mythical opportunities of the big city.
Sura is a conglomerate of many diverse architectural styles, imported from across the empire. The buildings of Sura show the change of fashions over the centuries. Varying from the great carved facades of Bakieh and stone houses, to the tiered ziggurats and wooden homes of the old Ryseumian people, ornately carved temples and square clay-brick homes in the Wa'Senet style, and the classic and simple buildings of the last nine centuries of style. Despite the disparate styles, much of the city is build or faced in Midnightstone. The predominant style of new construction has been rectangular homes, with overhanging eaves supported by simple columns, and internal courtyards. The relatively unchanged nature of Suran style in recent times is just one symptom of the empires cultural stagnation.